Monday, June 30, 2008

Don't let me forget

So many nights I lie awake dreaming about having a family. I imagine a harried family outing with hubby and I pulling our hair out in the front seat while the kids duke it out and drive us crazy in the back. I picture family portraits and all the firsts that a child has. I think about their first smile, tooth, and steps. I see our hearts busy, happy, and finally full.

Hubby and I talk about parenting quite often. We discuss things we think are ok and things we would definitely not allow. It is quite fortunate actually, that we have had this time with the subject always at the surface, to explore how we feel about certain things. Most parents don't get that chance.

A lot of these conversations occur after Dan and Dot have visited or we have been babysitting for them. They are a constant source of frustration for us. They love their daughter very much but she was unplanned and it is obvious. We have both in our own ways told them how lucky they are. We cherish the time they let us have with the baby and we love the boys just as much. They laugh at us and tell us we are crazy. I don't think we are. Are we?

These visits have brought a new fear into my life. I don't want to forget this feeling of desperate need for our child. I want our child to know every single day how much we love her/him and how hard we worked to get them. I don't want to lash out at my kid in anger or give them the impression that they are a burden to us. Hubby's parents to this day occasionally make a comment about how draining the kids are or how happy they are now that the kids are gone. I see the pain it causes him. I know that was a feeling he had often growing up.

I know we will be good parents and do anything for our child. I know there will be really hard times and really good ones. I know we will love our kids. But, will we take them for granted? Does the pain fade leaving you with a false sense of deserving? I hope that I can look back on this years from now and remember with a painful twinge what it is to be without. I hope it will remind me to give my child extra kisses and hugs. I hope I remember to tell him or her every single day how much they are wanted and loved.

Miracle in a blister pack?

So today is the day. We started our first round of clomid tonight. I'll have to say I've been a bit nervous about it. I went and picked my rx up yesterday and I was a bit surprised at the packaging and how anticlimactic it all was. I'm not saying I expected to pick up a gift box with a big curly gold bow or have a choir suddenly drop down from the ceiling offering me lofty joyful hymns or anything but honestly? A blister pack???

It actually made me laugh a bit at the situation. Here we are with six years of this mess under our belt and our answer is supposed to be found in five blister packed pills? All of the disappointment and hope and pain we have experienced comes down to this? Our miracle, according to my very optimistic doctor is supposed to be wrapped up in silver foil and plastic. Hmmm... I guess only time (most of it spent in the bedroom) will tell.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Meet Rocky...A Show and Tell....

I had a few ideas for this week's show and tell but this one takes main priority. I want you all to meet Rocky.

This is Rocky. He is a cichlid (see-klid) and the coolest fish I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.
Cichlids are notorious for being aggressive and within a few hours of his introduction to the tank my other cichlid turned on him. Camille (the other fish) really hurt him, and we were certain he wouldn't make it. All of his fins had been bitten and his tail too. He even has a nasty spot on his belly where Camille got him.

I felt horrible. I really liked this little guy and I was mortified that I had caused this to happen. We decided to help him however we could so we scooped him up and for the time being we put him in the bag from the pet store. We put holes in it so that the water could flow in and out freely and hoped for the best. The bag kept him away from Camille but allowed him the ability to move all around half the tank. We were going to get a divider but my tank is really small and we found out that Rocky can sometimes wedge himself into the wrinkles in the bag and rest upright, so we left it.

Every night we go to bed expecting to find him gone the next day. He spends a lot of his time on his side or upside down because he can't propel himself or balance, but he fights so hard. His fins and tail have started to grow back now and he is eating again too. I'm so proud of him! I know that sounds silly but I am. He's made it eight days! We named him Rocky because he's such a fighter.

I was reluctant to share him because I was afraid of the judgement I might get from some, but in a silly way he is inspiring. I hated for everyone to miss out on how cool he was if something happened to him. He has some serious courage and strength for such a little guy. I can't tell you how many times a day I roll my eyes at myself. I feel silly getting so worked up over a five dollar fish but I can't help it. I want so badly for him to get better and be ok. He is such a perfect guy for us to have in our lives right now. We are struggling so hard with infertility and we've been knocked down so many times. Part of me thinks that if he can make it so can we.

This is Camille. Just so you can put a name with the fin. We will be moving her back to my mom's school in a couple of weeks so Rocky can have total reign over the tank. He deserves it!

Saturday, June 28, 2008


There are a few that have braved infertility on their own and I give them huge kudos for it, but for most of us there is another person always in the waiting room. I feel like sometimes they get left in the shadows a bit and their struggle is just as painful as ours. I'm guilty of it. I forget that when we have the baby over he has to deal with his own feelings about it too. I forget sometimes how the effects of careful ovulatory planning can put his mood in the gutter. I take for granted at times that he is right there with me despite a broken heart, ready to take the next step.

Hubby and I have had our share of ups and downs. We've gone through some really rough times. It has always been compounded by our lack of children. We started our journey with the utterance of "I do." In hindsight, perhaps we should have given ourselves some time to love each other and prepare for this journey. We were both very young and eager though with no clue what we had ahead.

I'm proud of us for making it through the really hard stuff and I love remembering the good stuff. I don't think anyone ever truly believed we'd make it. There were times when I didn't believe that myself. So far, we're here and we've made it through almost six years. I love him more than anything and I can't imagine my life without him in it. I truly believe we can do this.

We were watching a movie the other night, and the love I had for him just came flooding out. In the scene the wife was cleaning the table after a rambunctious family dinner. Her husband came up behind her and before he got within reaching distance she smiled in a sort of "Ahh there he is" kind of way. I found myself smiling along with her because I knew that feeling. It surprised me. I don't know when that developed in our relationship but I can sense him in a room. I know when he gets up for work and when he comes to bed. It's like a candle in a dark room. I love that feeling and the security that comes from it.

There are times that he infuriates me or annoys me to no end. I feel like he isn't as involved in this having a baby business as I am. If you think about it though he really can't be. Most everything involves my body and what it is or isn't doing. It doesn't mean he isn't just as in tune though. His way of dealing is in silence. He doesn't tell me how it upsets him. He gets angry and shuts down. I want to lay all the cards out and examine them over and over until I can find an answer or wear myself out with it. He never ceases to amaze though. At the one moment when I feel he cares the least he will go and do something so cool or say something that is so sweet and sincere that it melts my heart.

Last week he helped in Bible school. I have the two year olds and I ended up with seven of them. One little boy had not seen his dad all day and had not taken a very good nap. He cried and pleaded for daddy to stay with him. Hubby was awestruck that a child could cling to their parent like that. He was so sweet and he stuck by that little guy the rest of the night.

A couple of days later I mentioned how much I wanted to go swimming. AF had started and I wasn't prepared. Hubby came in from work yesterday with a box of Tam.pax. It was sweet because he said "The lady told me this would work with your body. Look there's some for the heavy time and some for the medium and light times." I giggled at him. That was so cool of him to go in there and ask someone what his wife would need. He took time to care.

With all of that sweetness there are still days when I want to throttle him. His backwards ways and comments make me want to melt in the floor of embarrassment sometimes, but I know I frustrate him too. Sometimes I think we irritate each other when we can't express our pain, sadness, or anger for something entirely different. We've learned to recognize that sometimes now though. We know that when af comes and we finally give up hope for the month, that an argument will be waiting. Most often it ends in a hopeless puddle of tears as we hold on to each other trying to find the strength to try again.

I've told you all about the pack n play. It still sits in our living room. We have actually swapped it and the couch out (for a very different reason) so that now it takes the prime focus in our living room. I see him stare at it thoughtfully, wistfully, just like I do and I know it needs to stay. I've seen his excitement over good test results. He is bubbling over to tell people that we are taking a new step. He is hopeful and cautiously excited. Sometimes he pops in with "What do you think about this name?" or "I saw the cutest kid today!" When I have those days when I think he isn't invested in this like I wish he was, or that he doesn't care like I thought he did, those little things serve as reminders that he deals with this in a different way. I have to remember to check in with him often and take his opinions to heart. This is his journey too and I can't imagine walking this road with anyone else!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Pardon me whilst I recover from af's butt kicking!

I have a million things I want to tell you all about. There is so much going on right now in so many directions of my life and I can't seem to pull myself into one spot long enough to make a coherent decision on any of them!

I did manage to finally get a wonderful nurse at the ob's office to call me today and she took time to help me feel a little less overwhelmed. I was afraid that my minimal flow would mean this isn't really af and I would mess this all up. Well, I'm safe. Flow is normal and doc said it didn't matter b/c the Pro.vera incident last month would probably mean a light af this month anyway. Whew. I messed up where I wanted the rx to go too. I normally go to a mom and pop's pharmacy for all my meds but insurance won't cover this one I'm afraid and I really didn't want anyone there knowing what I was taking b/c my parents are good friends with everyone there. Thankfully that nurse was so cool and she called them claiming she had made a mistake and then called "World of the $4 (and $9) meds" and sent my rx there! How cool is that?!?!

Yes, you caught that if you were quick. We aren't telling anyone about our journey anymore (well aside from all my wonderful internet sisters). I used to go to my mom to vent and get her advice, but hubby and I agreed that her negativity was really bringing me down. We decided that once we got my cycles in working order and started again we would keep it quiet from everyone.

I'm thought I would be excited about starting Clomid but I'm really just in more of a calendar mode with it. I want to sit and figure out the days and how it will all work out. I'm anxious about the side effects and truly scared of disappointment.

I don't have much time today for a post. We are going out to eat with Dot and Dan and the baby. It should be fun. I asked hubby if they could come along because I'm tired of being stuck in the house. It will be nice to hang out for a while with other people.

I think when I get home I'm going to take a nap though! Af has really kicked me in the tush and I am just dragging around the past couple of days. I promise a more thoughtful and meaningful post tomorrow. Till then...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I ended up here?... how?

I should have seen it coming. I knew it was bound to happen. I can't believe I was so ignorant and oblivious to the signs!

This week I have been exhausted despite the fact that I have done nothing all week. I got a migraine last night. Two days ago this enormous (hubby calls it the "unicorn") zit popped up right between my eyes. I have become bloated and have groaned in misery over the pain and discomfort of the tiniest of meals. Then, the one thing that should have tipped me off, the big kicker.... Hubby became the single most annoying organism on the face of the planet! He started prodding me with annoying irritants and poking my sanity straight out the second story window. I became infuriated with the way he peed even and could not believe the lack of consideration and compassion of the man I considered my most loved in life.

Yup... you guessed it....

AF knocked on the door this afternoon.

This gives me a post provera cycle start of 20 days exactly. Not too bad. Perhaps there is hope after all.

Then a scary realization hit me. I start Clomid in 4 days. It wasn't supposed to happen this soon! I wasn't ready yet. I am still trying to find both doctors in the office on the same day so that I can score my script for the damn pills! I haven't restocked my cabinets with the necessary sanitary products. I haven't even boiled the water for crying out loud! Oh no! Internet I beg of you, what is a girl to do?

I suppose tomorrow I need to pick up my rx and clean house. I need to prepare the living room couch for hubby to slumber on in the inevitable event of my emotional meltdowns and settle in for a long bumpy emotional roller coaster. I'm gonna need help!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Dear Doc,

I'm so glad to see that you are putting all of my hard earned money to use at the driving range. I think your game is improving. Really I do. I feel bad taking you away from your Ma.xim magazine for even the briefest of moments but I had a few things I wanted to discuss. I hope you can humor me and at least skim over this letter's contents with the same skimming nonchalance you give my chart at each visit.

First off, I would like to apologize for my inability to produce a healthy screaming specimen and make you look good. I know that having me hang around the office seems bad for business and all but I think I have managed to come up with a solution. Perhaps on the days of my visits you could leave the back door unlocked. I could sneak in with the stealth of a cat and sit quietly unnoticed in some unoccupied corner of the building until it is time for my appointment. You could tell people I was a celebrity or the newspaper girl or even a distasteful moving sculpture. It wouldn't bother me either way. It would be nice if you could put a chair there for me while I wait, but I'm not too picky.

This would actually be a good thing for me. It would mean coming to the doctor's office without facing the "Stare of a thousand bellies." Seriously, can't you like put some weird mind numbing television show in there or something for them to stare at? It is rather unnerving to be faced at the door with all those bellies. I know they are wondering what I must be doing there wasting your time when it is obvious I'm not doing my part to enhance the world's population with my offspring. I mean honestly! Who comes for a yearly pap anymore? What else could you possibly need a doctor for?

So to recap, back door, chair, television....check.

This brings us to the white door. You know the one the nurse stands at ushering me through and shutting the door quickly to save the poor pregnant people from having to sit one more second with someone like me?

You know I just love forking out my entire life savings to the pretty little receptionist behind the counter only to have her ask me why I'm really there. I get all giddy when the nurse tells me as she takes my blood pressure that I need to have a true reason to come to the doctor these days and that she must mark down that I'm there for my yearly. I didn't once wince when she told me that with the insurance the way it is, I can't just come in to "discuss" things or follow up on my test results without a huge problem. I even bit my tongue and passed up the chance to tell her that I considered not ovulating for the past six years and wearing my hoo ha out with night after night of conceptual sex a problem! I never once whispered in a slightly agitated tone that in my opinion having a four week period that left your bathroom looking like a murder scene at least four times a day was anything to be concerned about. And let's just forget the sobbing terrified mess I was as I lay lifeless and unable to move in the bedroom floor whilst hubby called my family doc for an emergency rx of Provera. You would have been proud had you not been "taking five" to oogle at that chick sitting on the car in the magazine I saw (You know, the one you accidentally dropped off your clipboard and hastily stooped to pick up and rearrange in the office magazine basket? Because, you know all us women love reading those articles about how to arrange ourselves just right on the hood of a car to maximize the amount of sperm reaching the cervix...).

This brings me on to the office visit. Honestly! Do you consider that a service? Let me give you a run down... I go sit in said office waiting nervously as I go over in my head the top one hundred questions hubby and I have come up with since my last office visit (The one in months ago. You sent someone else in to do the job and never even called! Jerk!). You come waltzing in with your laptop and fancy clipboard (Which we now know is only a place to keep your dirty pictures) and you scan my folder in under three seconds flat and say "So what are we here for?" Well, if you would read the chart you would see, but what do I know eh? It amazed me though - that suave way you convinced me that I was here for my pap, tossed me a gown and a sheet and left the room so that I could "assume the position." I was sadly disappointed with your stirrup side manner as you lubed, swabbed, and degloved without so much as a smile or look in my direction. You didn't even comment on the Christmas lights I had worked so hard the night before to arrange down there just to make it a more pleasant experience. Hmph! No fruitcakes for you bub!

After the exam I do apologize. I realize now that it was drawing near to eleven o'clock and that my questions in regards to the logistics of our next fertility med seemed trifle and silly compared to your meeting at the country club. I understand now that it is my personal responsibility to my information and scour the brains of all my infertile friends on the best way to take said medications. How silly and inconsiderate of me.

I will say all in all though. The whole visit wasn't a total loss. I did rather appreciate the fatherly pat on the shoulder you gave me as you hurried out the front door in your all too white tennis shorts and tied around the neck argyle. It made it much easier for me to hand that perky receptionist my check knowing that I have single handedly funded your visit to the courts that day with enough left over to perhaps make a payment on that pretty little mercedes convertible you raced down the drive in. I feel good knowing that you will be able to comfortably retire at the ripe old age of 40 whilst I sweat and slave over every penny until I'm 85. What a good person I am huh?

Thanks doc for such a great visit. This is exactly the reason I come back time after time! I just can't wait for the chance to feel like a good person again! How's next Friday?


Monday, June 23, 2008

Once infertile always infertile

Ok, before we get started on this post I want it understood that I am in no way trying to step on toes here. It takes a lot for me to venture out on shaky branches so bear with me. This post has been on my mind for a while now, and I've had a hard time not only typing it into being but also explaining it out loud in words (mainly to my hubby sounding board). With that being said, I apologize ahead of time if I fail miserably at this or upset anyone too badly.

When I found myself married and optimistically excited in regards to bliss and baby-making, no one could have prepared me for the harsh reality and long bumpy journey it would lead me to. It was so simple then. We were married and in the eyes of God and our family "legal" to perform the acts of producing offspring. The idea was to do the deed as often as possible, as unprotected as possible, and with the naive innocence we had back then. Ha ha ha...!

After a couple of years we realized (do you think the lack of a menstrual cycle should have tipped us off somewhere in there? Me too. Kids...what can I say?) that things weren't working out the way we planned. Now, almost six years later, we are still trying minus the giddy excitement and carefree afternoon romps in the sac. We are infertile. So? you say...

Throughout our journey we have read about so many couples in the same boat. Many of them have had much rougher roads than ours. We have known many couples that decided the same way we did to have a child and within a couple of months of kicking the pills into the wastebasket they were well on their way, not caring that they had sent out birth announcements before finishing out the first trimester, or even having pictures of the first ultrasound to prove their claims. But. One thing remains the same throughout. We all decided at some point that we wanted a child. We all knew it would be hard. We all knew that babies were wonderful, life changing, amazing little miracles. We all dreamed of the cute outfits and the coos. We couldn't wait for the first smile or tooth. We had all been at least exposed to the idea of sleepless nights, crying, diapers, tantrums, etc.

Through the course of time, lots of my friends have overcome the biggest hurdle of infertility and they now walk around as proud scared parents of a child or baby. These people have struggled just like I have. They have cried over peed on sticks and red toilet paper. They have carried a calendar from room to room. They have displayed their hoo-has so many times that they now offer it as advertising space to cover the costs of their labors of love (What? You don't?). These people are my heroes. They got over the fence and now I read what they have to say, soaking in every word in loving envy. I take in all their experiences as a sort of "What you have to look forward to...hopefully...someday" book or class.

I've found that with every new "graduate" the fear and pain of infertility is still there. They all still wait for the ball to drop and for Ed McMahon to knock on their door demanding the kid back saying it was all a computer error. Most of them are terrified to seem ungrateful when things get hard and they tremble at the thought of complaining in fear that some unknown force from above will come down and snatch up the miracle they feel they don't deserve.

These people also fear me. Well, not just me. They fear the people in my place. They are terrified that we will all hate them for winning the procreative lottery. They can't bear the thought of seeming unhappy and scared of something they have begged for and dreamed of for so long. They know the pain and the emotional turmoil of trying to have a baby and they feel like it should be someone else in their place. It always was before, right?

Well, I want to clear the air. I'm over here still sitting in the cold dreary waiting room of infertility and I just need to tell all of you out there who have made it.... It's ok. Really. I get it. I think everyone else over here will agree with me too. We've all been waiting around long enough to realize that it ain't all sunshine and lollipops over there. Trust me! I've heard the screaming babies all the way over here! If you have a bad day or a rough week; if the first several months or even some months in the middle somewhere get hard and horrible, don't be afraid to say so. I don't think you are ungrateful in any way. Infact, I kind of need to know that it is ok to have those bad days. Lemme tell ya! If no one ever said anything about the hard stuff, there would be some seriously pissed off people coming over that fence with their new bundle of sunshine ("What the heck is that brown stinky stuff running down my baby's leg!?!?!" or "OMG they cry? No one told me they would cry!" or "What the... omg someone gave me faulty boobs up there! What is the matter with me? Now my kid will starve!"). Do you want to be responsible for that? Didn't think so.

I want you all to know that I'm here for you. I may not always be able to say so. I may slip away in a corner to silently shed my tears of envy and fear, but I'm here. We all are. You made it! Enjoy it! Revel in the normalcy of it all! The sucky stuff? Let it out! Don't be afraid of mashing a toe or two. Don't worry about getting kicked out of the clubhouse (Although, don't we all wish we could be?). We are all still your friends and unfortunately you are always going to be an infertile. I've learned through my six years that wanting the baby is only what starts you on the journey. There is so much more to that word once you leave the doctor's office! In our hearts it becomes a monster that is waiting in every nook and cranny to snatch all hope and happiness from our lives forever. From what I've heard, (Don't hate me please, I haven't been there yet and I know this...) that monster walks you out the door of the hospital and holds the door as you strap in your little angel. He sits in the closet as you snuggle and rock your little one at night and he often visits your nightmares. You struggle to overcome the racing heart you still get as a pregnant woman crosses in front of you and you are constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop.

As an infertile I want people to know that I'm not angry at other people with babies. I'm angry at myself for not having one.

So, if you are an infertile mom... feel free to tell me how hard it is to run after a stubborn toddler. Don't be afraid to let me know how much sleeping cycles and colic suck. Your stories give me hope that I can have a chance. They pass the time as I sit over here in the IF waiting room and they prepare me for what I hope to have ahead of me.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Show and Tell... Hope in a gift bag

Hubby and I have a special closet in our room. We keep our hamper there and our vacuum cleaner. Other than that the space is filled with treasures. We have a beautiful crib in there waiting to be assembled. Until recently our pack n' play was stored there and we also have a car seat that has been waiting for a child too long and will have to be replaced but we can't bear to let it go. We also have a gift bag on the top shelf given to someone else's baby piled up with goodies. There are adorable little outfits and lotions and baby wash. We have receiving blankets, hair bows, and pacifiers. Occasionally someone will outgrow their baby clothes and hand them to us for our future use happy to free up space to buy more stuff for their real baby.

Last summer my sister came across this dress that was just beautiful and she bought it for me in the hopes that I would someday have a little girl to wear it. I treasure this little jewel like a priceless museum artifact along with all of our other jewels waiting for the right time and place.

I've been waiting for a couple of weeks now to show everyone this dress. At first I was afraid. I wasn't afraid really of what someone would think about having all that stashed and unused baby gold or something silly like jinxing myself or what not. I was afraid to put my heart out there. This dress has come to signify hope to me. Our whole closet has really. I don't care about having a girl or boy even though hubby and I have dreamed at night of sweet frilly bloomers and hair bows. We would be happy with baseballs and dinosaurs just as well. What I do care about is having a sweet baby cuddled in the crook of my arm someday. We have collected and stored these things as a sort of promise to ourselves that it will happen someday. As long as we have the stuff we have to use it at some point right?

It is hard sometimes to look in there. It reminds me of a void we feel every second of every day. I just feel so hollow and helpless staring at the building blocks without the house. There are other days though that I just need to hope. I have to believe for one second that there is a happy ending somewhere. I keep that closet full to help me on those days. I will pull out our bag and sit on the bed touching each thing. I will run a hand lovingly over the maple wood of the crib or inhale the scent of the little dress purposely kept on top of the bottle of baby wash so it has a baby smell.

Hope is a vulnerable and risky thing to have. With hope there is always the chance of pain sometimes over and over but, I believe that if you dig deep enough hope also pushes you to keep going and regardless of the outcome you will come out in the end wiser and stronger.

We continue our journey in a week or so and I think we have bandaged our wounds well enough for a couple more rounds in the ring. We have both spent time looking at our treasures and dreaming. We have dared for the first time in many months to talk to each other about what it would be like. Please don't misunderstand. We aren't naive and nonchalant any more. Six years has taught us a thing or two about counting chickens and hatching babies. We always talk late at night as we are trying to settle in to sleep. Almost always our dreams are dreamed in a whisper as if hiding our conversation from anyone that might think us too vain and snatch our dreams right out of the air. We are always cautious and use words like "if" and "wouldn't it be nice" and "someday."

I pray that perhaps a miracle will find its way over to us, but I always follow up with a prayer that another disappointment won't shatter us or tear us apart. This is what infertility is. It's not just wanting the baby or going to appointments or taking meds. It's holding on to something and trying to find a balance between daring to hope that finally things will be ok, and protecting your heart against the pain and anguish of broken dreams. I'm going to edge out onto the ice of hope for a little while no matter how thin. I'm terrified of falling into the icy depths again but I'm even more terrified of sitting here helpless on the shore.


When I was a little girl I remember my mom telling my sister and I that my grandfather was sick and couldn't drive his big truck anymore. She told us that he was ok right now but that at some point he wouldn't be ok. A few years later he developed lung and throat cancer and despite a horrible fight he left us before I started high school.

Three or four years later I signed up for Latin and tried to hold my trembling hands still as I listened to our teacher explain sternly with military precision his expectations for our class. Our class was a close one and we took three years of Latin with Coach. He was the wrestling coach and our Latin teacher. Most of us took AP history with him and whatever else we could fit in to our already packed schedule. He was a military guy and spent two weeks each year at a foreign location doing riot training and the likes. He was in the CIA for a while and could scare anyone with one eye!

Coach had a son that when mentioned could light his face up like a lighthouse on a dark stormy night. His little boy had Downs' Syndrome but anyone that knew that little boy knew they had found an earth angel. He had gotten leukemia but had fought it off valiantly the year before. If you ever wanted to get out of a translation or a tough essay all you had to do was mention his child's name and Coach would melt. We heard about the legos he stepped on in the middle of the night and the funny things done the day before. One day as we filed in Coach remained seated at his desk. He was tired and didn't have his spunk. He told us with tears in his eyes that he had spent the night at the hospital holding his son's hand as they gave him his first dose of chemo. He was only five years old. His little boy fought so hard. We all prayed so hard and our class held each other as we sat, excused from school, in that church staring at the tiny white casket. We watched our stoic teacher cry and help his wife into the car. We drove to their farm 15 miles out of town and hugged Coach as they buried his son.

Three years ago the "C" word came back up again. My dad had been having problems and went to what was supposed to be a routine doctor's appointment only to find himself with scans and MRI's. He had a cancerous mass thankfully caught early with a very high survival rate. We worried and prayed as he had surgery and then radiation. It changed my dad. He survived but not without the scars of fear. He won't tell anyone when he has a doctor's appointment but we can all tell. He gets kind of crazy and starts doing things that don't make sense. He worries about silly things. I guess I would too.

We have all been touched in some way by cancer. I think of Topcat as I write this. She and her husband should be enjoying the happiest time in their lives but are instead riddled with fear and what-ifs. I don't think any of us can say that we have escaped cancer's grip on a family member or a friend or even ourselves.

Last night I attended my third Relay for Life celebration. My dad takes pride in being a survivor. I am proud of him too. We go and walk hour by hour keeping vigilant through the night in the hopes that more miracles can occur and more people can survive. We light luminaries for those battles lost and won. We hug each other a bit tighter as they call out names of those not with us and those that have joined us stronger some still wearing caps to cover their hairless heads.

I love this night. We have teams and we raise money all year long. There are awards for various things throughout the night. We have a huge beautiful fireworks display just before midnight and then the funny games begin. Usually we stay all night. This time hubby who came for the first time had to work early so we left just after the fireworks. It didn't take away from the night though. I know that this week I will hug my dad one more time and I will think more often of the ones lost. This has become such a wonderful tradition in our community and we truly celebrate it with more enthusiasm than July the 4th which is quickly approaching. Our fireworks are twice as big and our music is twice as loud.

I hope that you can remember this week along with us. I pray for each and every family that has to hear those words "It's cancer." I pray that we all find strength and that we can love each other and work harder to find hope to light up a dark scary reality.

As I type this my dad is visiting a friend that he worked with for years. They have found lung cancer and despite the statistics my dad has urged him to fight. He has promised a hunting trip in a year and I watched tears fill his eyes last night at the thought of losing his friend. They have caught it a bit early and maybe just maybe he can make it through. I pray for him and for all those fighting right now. I pray they find the strength and if they can't I pray that God can give them a little of mine.

Friday, June 20, 2008

A Post About Normal

First off I would like to apologize for the delay (You have been sitting there on the edge of your seat since yesterday afternoon too haven't you?). The doctor finally called after a nail biting, floor pacing, what if thinking, snap at your spouse four and a half hours! I think we called about four times trying to catch him because we know that appointments stop at four-ish and neither of us could bare the thought of taking this unknown cloud to bed with us. Finally at six (six o'clock people!) he called and told hubby everything was perfectly normal. I wanted numbers. I wasn't going to let him off the hook that easy. We have numbers and things look pretty good actually.

With that happy news out of the way a new phenomenon occurred. Blame. ***Now let me just say before we get any further that I am supremely happy that hubby's test is great. I in no way wanted for us to have another problem to face and I am eternally greatful that at least one of us is in working order.*** However... before his test was done there was always a lurking thought that perhaps it isn't all my fault. It felt better to think that maybe just maybe he had something to do with this too. It isn't like I wanted him to have something wrong but it helped me with my guilt and the feeling of failure I often come across. Once we found out that things were great on his part this tiny voice in my head started laughing at me. It said "See, this is your fault. You are the broken one. You are your only reason why there isn't a baby in that crib right now." It hurt.

We have had test after test done and they all say that we are gloriously normal. There are no major problems aside from the pcos and that with the metformin and a regular cycle there should be no reason for our inability to have a child. I assume this weekend I will be picking up a "normal" rx for a "normal" round of clomid. We will have "normal" relations and live by a "normal" calendar again. We talked about that for a while last night. It was easy to fall back into our pattern of planning and timing things. It was easy to worry and sit quietly knowing the other was treading in the water beside us terrified to hope. It was all so "normal" for us. What do we do if our dreams ever come true and we have to venture out for a new normal? What do we do if our dreams never come true and we have to step back and settle for an unwanted normal? I was certain that if this test came back with good results we would have a bit of a victory and we would feel like we had a new rung on the ladder so to speak. Right now it just feels like another step on a miles long journey that we have seemingly just begun.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Wait

Doctor's are so unfair to the normal population. I don't think that they truly connect and think about how they would feel in the same situations that many of their patients end up. Hubby and I went this morning to pick up the orders for his S.A. and figure out what to do from there. My doctor had originally sent us to a urologist for this but we had time constraints and we lived too far away to get the "specimen" to the lab in time. We talked to our family doc about this a couple of months ago and he just waved it off with orders to go to our local hospital and have the test done. No biggie right?

Well... men I suppose aren't as blase' about stripping down in a sterile environment, flushing their pride and dignity down the toilet and doing whatever is necessary, as we women are. We are frequently forced to don paper gowns and have some latex clad doctor probe every possible and uncomfortable spot he can find. This being said, hubby was less than enthusiastic about the procedure and put it off for a while. I know too that he was as nervous about the results as I had been about my hsg results so I didn't push.

My doc told me this week that the S.A. was all that we were waiting on for the next step and so hubby bared teeth and called the doc. We had planned to wait until his day off so this morning we slept in and we took longer getting up and getting ready. He called and of course it was much too easy for comfort. He was to come in right away and pick up the papers and head over to the hospital lab.

He asked me pleadingly to come with him and of course I did. We took the paper - which by the way thanks to our very funny doc gave a diagnosis of "Failure to father offspring" - into the outpatient sign in office and held it gingerly as we waited for the one other patient (thankfully) to be helped. Hubby was a bit nervous as he handed her the paper and the lady asked "Do you have your specimen?" Hubby said "Uh...we just came from the doc's office. He didn't say anything about that." The lady asked him "You do know what this involves right? You have to give us sperm." I almost slapped her. Hubby told her we knew what it was for and that we had been told that we would have to do that at the hospital because the test was time sensitive. The lady proceeded to tell us "Oh well yeah. They give you a cup here and you have to do it here but sometimes they don't tell people that they have to have produce a specimen for the test." Hubby and I gave each other a look of "Omg can you believe this chick?" and headed on down to the lab.

Once in the lab things were a bit awkward. They gave hubby a cup and he turned as red as I've ever seen him. He mumbled something about how embarrassing this was to have only girls in that lab room and the lady said "Look my husband and I had fertility probs too. It's no big deal I know what you're dealing with." I think it helped him a bit. They pointed him to the bathroom and stressed how important it was that he get it to them as fast as possible... like he would want to sit in the bathroom and talk to the swimmers before he turned em over or something. Anyhoo, I asked how long it would take to know something and she said she would put a rush on it and we should call in about an hour.

No one told me I could go with hubby or not but I did. It was rather funny to be honest but I guess I'll let you figure that out if you ever have to go help out a hubby with his "specimen."

We decided to go grab lunch and try to kill some time. We lingered as long as we could and then came home to wait. We're both scared right now. Anyone would be. These results determine whether our next step is a small sized insurance covered one or a gigantic, scary, non covered, expensive mess. We waited for our hour to pass and he called. They were at lunch. Who could go to lunch at a time like this!?!?!? We waited half an hour and called again. The receptionist answered and said "Oh let me call you back. I haven't even had time to check our fax machine yet." What?!?!?! Don't they understand how important this is? Hubby told her that it was very important that she call us back and so we wait....

We are silent and thoughtful. We have both tried coming up with different things to pass the time but I know we both have one thing on our mind. Our swimmers. I pray that those little guys do their thing and all is well. I feel like infertility should have a secondary definition in the dictionary...

Infertility - to spend most of one's assumed child productive life waiting in limbo for whatever the doctors and nature decide you should wait on next. See also cruel and unusual forced patience training...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

New projects all around

I'm very sorry that I missed our show and tell this week. I was so anxious to post for this one too but life just got in the way a bit. I've had lots of little projects going on lately and although some of them don't take up much time they seem to let me allow time to slip away a bit.

Our pastor decided to stretch our Vacation Bible School this year for the whole summer! He wanted to do it every Wednesday night all the way through. No biggie right? Well my mom is the one in charge of VBS so I've been pulled in quite a bit. I thought it would be easy this year since I'm on staff for the nursery. I thought I would have to be in the nursery. Wrong! They have fixed it so that I can have the two and three year olds like always by putting our newly turned two's from the nursery in the class. The other lady in the nursery with me usually covers Wednesday's by herself anyway so now I am preparing crafts and stories for 7 two year olds. I wouldn't trade a minute of it though! (Well, maybe just one or two...)

Yesterday's major project was getting hot french fries out to my grandfather who lives about twenty minutes from town. He loves S.oni.c cheeseburgers and I've been determined for about two weeks to go out and bring my grandmother and him some hot food and company. My plan was knocked down three times this week and finally last night I got to go. We had a great time! My grandfather is absolutely hilarious! My grandmother gave me a new plant too! I'll save that for another show and tell though because she has just set it and it needs time to grow a bit.

I did go to the doc on Friday too. Everything's fine I guess. My blood pressure was lower than normal for me but no one seemed to care so I guess all is well. I have the go ahead on Clomid. Hubby goes tomorrow morning for his test and as soon as the results are called in to my doc and if the results are "normal" he will call the pharmacy and off we go. I would have expected him to make sure I was regular again before we did anything like this but I guess the ball is in my court on this and we'll see what happens. I had a hard time at the doctor's office too but I guess we'll save that for another post.

One big thing I've been working on is another blanket. I'm hoping to sell a few at the end of the summer to help raise money for my trip to Russia. This one isn't going as quickly as I had hoped though, so I'm not sure how feasible this idea is yet. We'll just have to try and see. Every penny helps. I've been yarn hunting this week too. I've gotten lots of new baby soft colors (I even bought pink which is a huge step for me!) and I think I'm really trying to push to get this one done just so I can play with the new colors! Here's a pic of what I have so far. Like I said it is going slow and takes a lot of yarn for this pattern but I think when I'm done it will be pretty.

*****As you can see...I have my memory card back!!!! I could have posted my show and tell technically but I hated to post this one so late so I think we can make it till Sunday again! Finally more posts with pictures! I've missed having my camera sooo much!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Back to the doc we go...

We have twiddled our thumbs and skirted around the issue for a few months now. We've talked about it, discussed our plans, we've even set aside money and time for our plans, but we've not found the courage to stand up again...until now.

I guess the headaches had a point to them. It created a problem when af finally returned that warrants a look see by the doc. I've been meaning to go for months to get my Clomid filled. Every time I pick up the phone to call I get sweaty palms and a racing heart. I just couldn't do it. I wasn't ready. I don't know that I am yet but I'm going to try I guess.

I called and set up the appointment on Friday and at the time I did it very quickly as an aside to some insurance business that needed clearing up. The receptionist called me back to take care of our business and said "So you need an appointment? I have a cancellation, will Monday be ok?" I had left a message mentioning the needed appointment and when she brought it up panic set in. I told her really all I needed was a refill on my metformin and that I guess I could go without the appointment but she was ahead of me. She had my Chart! She fussed because I'm due for my pap test and a few other things and went on to set up the appointment.

I guess I should be happy, excited, even just a tiny bit ok with the appointment. Truth is... I'm petrified! Up to this point we have been coasting. We knew it wasn't doing any good but it felt better to sweep it under the rug for a bit and just live life. IF surfaced at least once a week with us and it was like this creepy storm cloud that followed just behind us everywhere we went. But... we didn't buy any tests. We didn't flinch when I was a day late...a week...a month...two... We just trudged on knowing that "That just doesn't happen to people like us." Sure enough it didn't and we just shrugged with a "See...told ya so!" to the world. By going to the doc, we have to dig out the feelings and the baggage that it carries with it. We have to put back on the coats of infertility and don the boots of disappointment. We will again wear the belt of fear and the tear stained shirt. We will tuck into our back pockets a tiny white square of hope and tremble every time we have to reach for it. It was so comfortable and easy to just turn away and live bitter and resentful of every parent or child we saw. Now, to wear our hearts outside again is a very hard thing to do.

We kept Dot and Dan's baby again tonight. Hubby didn't coo with her as much this time. He didn't cuddle her and peek-a-boo with her. I was very quick to give up on rocking her to sleep and I didn't spend nearly as much time out on our usual walk or her bath time. I couldn't cherish those moments tonight. I feared those moments. What if they never happen for us? I'm sure hubby felt the same way.

In the beginning you enter IF gradually. So much so, that you don't even notice till your already up to your elbows with no way out. You get a few negatives and shrug it off. You toy with calendars and pay more attention to your twinges or moods. Then you dabble in appointments and terminology. You giggle at all the acronymns and begin to feel a bit like a hamster in a wheel. You take medicines and start to obsess over ever twinge or pink tinge. You count hours not days and you pray not for a baby but for just two lines! Finally you become the hamster not even stretching before you step into the wheel. You take your temp and meds, you click over the calendar and shrug off the pains as normal sets in.

When you take a break from it all, which is in my opinion a necessary thing at times, to come back to it there is no gradual. You dive right back in where you left off. I hope someone remembered to warm the water for us....

Monday, June 9, 2008

Show and Tell

I am so excited that it is summer! I don't think I have ever expressed how much I absolutely love this time of year! The green pops out everywhere and the waves of heat radiating from the ground get me twitching in glee!

One of my favorite parts has to be planting. I always loved my grandparents' gardens when I was a kid and my mom's mom is a flower guru! She has flowers and pots of green goodness everywhere! My poor mother did not inherit her family's ability to grow anything that wasn't silk but thankfully I have come to love and enjoy the sight of a new bud or sprout!

This next weekend we are planning to drive out to my grandparents' place and hopefully I can bring home some green gifts to fill our apartment with. It is sad that I only have a tiny little porch on the second floor to use as my planting playground, but I can work with that.

One of my favorites happens to be petunias! They are so fussy and grumpy but once you get them in a good spot they shower you with beautiful colors and gorgeous plump blooms! This is actually a pic of last years petunias when I first set them out. This year my mother bought me a huge hanging pot full of petunias! As soon as I get my memory card back from the school I will show you a pic of those too! Hopefully this can bring you a bit of the sunshine it brings me each day!

I'm off to the pool while you enjoy!!! Yup! The pool! It has been open for a couple of weeks now and I have been too busy entertaining Auntie Flo to enjoy the blue cool but last night with T.ampax at my side I went down to float around for two hours! My sister came along and it was so great with the night air getting cooler and the water still so warm from our ninety degree days! I can't wait till hubby and I go again later this afternoon!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Pack ? n' Play

Hubby and I have this thing that is just hanging in the air between us right now. A couple of weeks ago while hubby was at work, I kept Dot and Dan's baby so they could get out of the house a bit. I've tried to avoid that scenario lately but the baby has been going through a nasty teething spell and Dot and Dan truly needed a break from screaming baby for a bit.

They dropped her off with the normal fanfare and a Uhaul sized pile of goodies. She is pulling up and crawling everywhere now. We had a ton of fun. Our house is definitely not child friendly and I spent the first half of the morning moving things out of reach from curious little fingers.

She got fussy and we began the process of naptime. I rocked and fed and she fussed and squirmed. Finally, after what felt like hours, she fell asleep. I sat there for a while soaking up the quiet peaceful sleep that only a baby can have. Soon my arm fell asleep though and I went to lay her down.

I was determined that we would not go through the Pack n' Play drama again and that I was just going to lay her on a couple of blankets in the floor beside my desk. The puppies just couldn't stand it though. Looking back it was a sweet thing to see but at the time I was getting rather frustrated. Our chunky min pin who just has to be under a blanket or nuzzled up against someone thought that the baby was just the greatest heating pad she had ever seen. She snuggled up on one side and stuck her head just under the blanket. Our fuzzy shih-tzu decided that the baby just shouldn't be left alone like that. He is a very jealous and antsy type and he kept going up and licking her face or sniffing her and running away. It was funny but the baby obviously wasn't getting any sleep.

I thought about crating the dogs but they just whined. I considered putting the baby in her carseat but she has almost out grown it and she hates being in it so she woke up. I finally gave up and grabbed the crib. It was dreadful. I put her in it knowing the pain I would have later taking it down. She slept for two hours though unaware of the turmoil that bed brought into our home.

Hubby came home and played with her a bit and then Dan and Dot came by. They didn't stay long and as they left the air just got so silent. I hate that feeling. I just hate it! I had decided to tackle the crib just as soon as they left but I couldn't get the button to go in and hubby turned to see what I was doing. I explained that the button wouldn't go in and he said "Good. Let's just leave it up for a few days ok?"

That was over a month ago!

We tucked that thing over in a corner behind our table and it sits there. It just sits. It feels so natural to see it in our home. It is like a normal piece of furniture. People raise eyebrows when they come over and see it but we just shrug and leave them to answer their own nosy questions. I feel so silly. I feel like an imposter having it out. We shouldn't have baby things. We don't have a baby. Until now all of our baby items have been tucked away with love in a closet silently cherished in secret. Things have changed though. We have this crib that we just can't find the heart to put away. I have grown to like it there.

For hubby it means more. He has somehow become strongly attached to it and it's almost like by having that out he can pretend or forget that we don't have a baby there. I understand that and I won't be the one taking that away from him.

Do you have anything like this hanging out in a corner somewhere? Something that just sits there to make you feel a little less infertile or childless?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

In a hole

I am working on the end of the third week of a very brutal and carnage filled period. It has been scary and almost unbearable. As I round the corner into week four with Progesterone in hand and anger in my heart I feel like I have lost my desire. I'm afraid. I'm afraid that life and infertility have kicked my butt.

A few months ago hubby and I suffered some pretty traumatic things in our marriage. There were misinterpretations on everyone's part and it planted a seed of mistrust I'm afraid. In the midst of this hubby went through two jobs and financially it hurt. It also became very clear as gas prices soared, that without a miracle his normal hour and a half commute one way was out of the question. This knocked out a lot of great paying opportunities. It was just costing us too much and we had been knocked too far down. It's ok. We compromised, changed some things, removed others, and decided we needed to try harder. It is getting better. We are digging our way back up.

Still, the damage was done. During all of that turmoil I was very sick. I'm not ignorant to the idea that the amount of stress our lives were under had a lot to do with it. The migraines were horrible and that became our priority. Our efforts to have a child were swept under the rug. It was like something we just exchanged knowing looks over and turned away. It hurt too much and there were so many other things on the surface. Sitting in a different place now, I feel that the absence of a child and the struggle to have one had a lot to do with our problems individually and together.

My husband may tell you differently perhaps. I don't think he wants to think about those times though. I had to. My everyday life is entangled in the goings on of my uterus and all those other parts. When they don't work the rest of my body doesn't work either. I had to take time to examine what had happened. I can see how infertility caused these things to manifest in our marriage. It scares me that I may not see those signs a second time, but at least I know.

With all of that being said as I sit here leaking out precious pints, I find myself terrified to try again. The desire to have a child? Oh my, that is still an unbelievable ache in my heart. It used to be an ache that drove me on though. It has become something that just aches. I want to hide from it and push it away. I could be on clomid right now trying for the millionth time, but I feel like I have fallen too many steps down and I can't find the energy to climb back up and start again. I don't feel like we have gotten half as far as we should, and from down here our starting place looks so far from where we hope to get.

I have a couple of weeks at least until my body can regenerate and I find myself in a place where I can consider our options. In reality I don't have to decide anything right now. I feel like it would eat at us though to have that hanging over our heads. There is no doubt that I want to continue to try, but at what point do you have to say enough is enough? Where do you start digging to unearth your passion to keep going.

Being in this place is like falling into a deep hole while walking through a vast empty plain during a bitter snow storm. You know in order to survive you have to climb out and keep going. The hole protects you from the freezing winds and painful cold. You get a false sense of security. The idea of crawling out and facing that storm is a terrifying and dreadful one. Finding the motivation to go back out there is almost as bad as being there in the first place.

I'm going to climb out of this. Hubby and I are going to climb out. We will press on I am sure but nothing can erase the scars and callouses that infertility has scrawled into our hearts.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

My first Show and Tell since Kindergarten...

I love reading everyone's show and tells each week. It helps me connect and feel connected. This week I decided that I would post my own show and tell for the first time. I have been struggling this week with my body and af. It has been both a physical and emotional battle and I can't seem to find the tiny speck of light suggesting the end of the tunnel. I hoped that perhaps this would help me remember the hope and the miracles that came with these pictures....

Last year I went to Belarus. It is a beautiful country. It is old and poor, and the people are set and stern until you get to know them. Once a bond has been formed they blossom into beautiful loving people who adore their children and do their best to fight a powerful government to protect their future and hang on to every ounce of hope they can muster.

I went here and I swear I could have taken any one of these children home with me. My heart aches for such a beautiful country and I feel a pang of homesickness when I look at these pictures. I left part of me there with with the children. I have been asked to go to Russia next to help with a deaf school there. Many of the children due to the government's feelings toward children with disabilities are orphans. I'm struggling so hard with this decision but I feel such a hopeful warmth at the idea of returning to this part of the world and getting to once again love someone who has never been loved. Someday I'm gonna be a good mom. I just know....

Anyway, here's my show and tell for the week: